In this painting, done on Maui, Victor again explores the realm of concepts presented in his earlier painting, "The Role of the Nail in the Future". The exploration is of levels of representation of reality, and how they interrelate.
In "Condensed Metareality", Victor depicts himself hanging up two small paintings; one is his self-portrait, the other, a surrealistic landscape. The wall that Victor is hanging his paintings on is in fact a larger version of one of the paintings that he is hanging up. And of course, this entire painting is itself a self-portrait.
Artwork can be divided into two categories: representational and abstract. In representational artwork, objects, ideas, and emotions are represented through the use of symbols; forms or shapes, drawn or painted, represent objects in the world, thoughts, or emotions. In non-representational or abstract artwork, the significance of the paint is in its own existance, as colors and forms on a two-dimensional surface.
In "Condensed Metareality", Victor humorously explores the link between the two questions "How do symbols work?" and "How do our minds work?" Through contemplation of the self-mirroring within this painting, the viewer can increase awareness of the relationship between mental structures on different levels, and, symbols and symbol processing by our minds. A high-level view of a system contains explanatory power which is absent on the lower levels.
Understanding of the nature of human consciousness depends on understanding not just one level at a time, but on understanding the way in which one level mirrors its metalevel, and the consequences of this mirroring.
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